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Archive >> May 2012

New Comics Day 5/23/12: Interiorae, Mysterious Traveler
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoNew Comics DayGabriella GiandelliBlake Bell 23 May 2012 2:44 PM

This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.

http://www.fantagraphics.com/images/flog/covers/2012/bookcover_interi.jpg

Interiorae
by Gabriella Giandelli

144-page full-color 7.75" x 10.25" softcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-559-4

"...I already have the four Ignatz issues, but I won’t let that stop me from recommending Interiorae, Gabriella Giandelli’s dark and occasionally surreal look at the drab lives of various people living in an apartment complex. This new version of the atmospheric – downright moody even – book allegedly is an improvement on the color printing [in that it is full color whereas the series was sepiatone — Ed.], so newcomers may be getting the better deal here." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

"If you go to comics shops looking for unique voices doing beautifully-presented work, this is the one for you today." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

"This looks odd. Good, but odd. It takes place inside an apartment building in Milan, where strange things are afoot. There’s a giant talking rabbit, for instance. Oh, those wacky Europeans!" – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources

Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3

Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3
by Steve Ditko; edited by Blake Bell

240-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $39.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-498-6

"This $40, Blake Bell-edited volume reprints horror stories drawn by Ditko in the late '50s for Charlton Comics titles including Tales of the Mysterious Traveler and This Magazine Is Haunted." – Douglas Wolk, "Don't Ask! Just Buy It!", ComicsAlliance

"More Steve Ditko? Why, certainly! Courtesy of Mysterious Traveler, the third volume in editor Blake Bell’s ongoing collection of early Ditko work, this one largely taken from Tales from the Mysterious Traveler and This Magazine is Haunted." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

"The belle of the ball... -- concentrated, early, yet by this volume prime-time Steve Ditko." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

"Ditko = GOOD." – Greg Burgas, Comic Book Resources

"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: What? Ditko? Reprints? Yeah, there’s more of those in Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3, another 240-page hardcover from editor Blake Bell; $39.99. And another Ignatz series finds itself collected as Gabriella Giandelli’s Interiorae is seen, for the first time in English, in its original muted full-color state; $19.99." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal



Mr. Twee Deedle: The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpiece of Johnny Gruelle - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesJohnny Gruelle 22 May 2012 1:55 PM
Mr. Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann's Sprightly Cousin - The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpiece of Johnny Gruelle

Mr. Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann's Sprightly Cousin - The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpiece of Johnny Gruelle
by Johnny Gruelle

128-page full-color 14" x 18" hardcover • $75.00
ISBN: 978-1-60699-411-5

Ships in: May 2012 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now

From our Marschall Books imprint comes this magnificent collection of Mr. Twee Deedle, Johnny Gruelle’s masterpiece, unjustly forgotten by history and never before reprinted since its first appearance in America’s newspapers from 1911 to 1914.

The title character in the Sunday color page, Mr. Twee Deedle, is a magical wood sprite who befriends the strip’s two human children, Dickie and Dolly. Gruelle depicted a charming, fantastical child’s world, filled with light whimsy and outlandish surrealism. The artwork is among the most stunning ever to grace an American newspaper page, and Gruelle’s painterly color makes every page look like it was created on a canvas.

Gruelle’s creation was the winning entry out of 1500 submissions to succeed Little Nemo, which the New York Herald was losing at the time to the rival Hearst papers. With such import, the Herald added a $2000 prize, a long contract, and arguably the most care devoted to the reproduction of any color newspaper comic strip before or since.

Yet the wood sprite and his fanciful world have been strangely overlooked, partly because Gruelle created Raggedy Ann immediately after the strip’s run, eclipsing not only Mr. Twee Deedle but almost everything else the cartoonist ever did.

Mr. Twee Deedle stands as a bizarre time-warp: at a time when most children's literature and kids' comic strips were somewhat violent or starkly moralistic (the Brothers Grimm; The Katzenjammer Kids; and even Little Nemo itself, which often depicted nightmares, fears, and dangers), Twee Deedle was sensitive and whimsical. Instead of stark moralizing, it presented gentle lessons. It reads today like a work for the 21st century… indeed for all times, all ages.

Mr. Twee Deedle is edited and includes an introduction by comics historian Rick Marschall. The volume presents the first year of the forgotten masterpiece and selected episodes from later years, as well as special drawings, promotional material, and related artwork.

12-page excerpt (download 8.9 MB PDF):

Video & Photo Slideshow Preview (view in new window):



Things to See: What's in The Cartoon Utopia
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Things to seeRon Regé JrComing Attractions 21 May 2012 8:27 PM

Table of Contents

The days are ticking down to the arrival of Ron Regé Jr.'s The Cartoon Utopia this November. If, like me, you're eagerly looking forward to the book and you're a fan of Ron's hand-lettering (seriously, he doesn't get enough credit for it), you'll be happy to see this Table of Contents Ron's just posted.

I don't think the new drawing by Ron below, "The Harmony of Emptiness and Dependent Arising," is in the book — just some extra eye candy for you:

The Harmony of Emptiness and Dependent Arising

Daily OCD: 5/18-5/21/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPrince ValiantMatthias WivelJosh SimmonsJack ColeHal FosterFlannery OConnorDaily OCD 21 May 2012 7:40 PM

The latest Online Commentary & Diversions:

Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons

Review: "Known to her classmates at Georgia State College for Women as 'the cartoon girl,' Flannery O'Connor provided satirical illustrations GSCW's student newspaper, The Colonnade, and other school publications while earning a social sciences degree and planning a career in journalism. Executed in the high-contrast technique of linoleum cut from the fall of 1942 until her graduation in 1945, her cartoons skewering the denizens of the Milledgeville campus — roughly drawn but formally dynamic, and often accompanied by punchy, dialogue-driven captions — are the subject of a revelatory new book by O'Connor scholar Kelly Gerald.... While her cartoons only hint at the fully drawn grotesques of O'Connor's mature fiction, they foreshadow her vividly imagistic prose and close observation of her characters' quirks and foibles-and, in their own right, they are delightful." – Stephen Maine, Art in America

The Furry Trap

Review (Audio): What better way to kick off the pilot episode of Comics Books Are Burning in Hell, the new podcast joint by Matt Seneca, Joe McCulloch and Tucker Stone, than with a discussion of Josh Simmons's The Furry Trap?

Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now

Review: Nación del Comic looks at Kolor Klimax: Nordic Comics Now. Salient quote as translated by KK editor Matthias Wivel: "I think those who like independent and alternative comics will like it a lot"

Betsy and Me

Profile: At Hogan's Alley, Ron Goulart examines the "brief but legendary run" of Jack Cole's newspaper strip Betsy and Me (via TCJ.com)

Prince Valiant Vol. 4: 1943-1944

Commentary: At Bleeding Cool, Cameron Hatheway gives his picks for the 2012 Eisner Awards, selecting our Prince Valiant collections for the win in Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips: "If it’s one thing Fantagraphics knows how to do, it’s superb high quality hardcovers of collected works. ...Fantagraphics continues to give you the most bang for your buck with this Hal Foster classic series. One of the reasons the art looks much cleaner than previous softcover collections is because Fantagraphics obtained access to Foster’s own collection of the pristine art proofs, housed at Syracuse University. It’s that attention to detail and commitment that just scream ‘Eisner worthy’ in my opinion."

This Week in Fantagraphics Events: 5/21-5/28
Written by janice headley | Filed under Paul KarasikFantagraphics BookstoreeventsCharles Burns 21 May 2012 1:31 PM

12 Beers of the Apocalypse: Ruin

Monday, May 21st

Seattle, WA: Our friends at the Elysian Brewing Company will be launching the latest edition in our 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series, a collaboration featuring the artwork of the great Charles Burns from his weirdly apocalyptic Black Hole series! (more info)

Friday, May 25th

DeKalb, IL:  It's your last chance to check out the exhibition “Graphic Novel Realism: Backstage at the Comics” at the Northern Illinois Unversity Art Museum, curated by our own Paul Karasik, and featuring work by Joyce Farmer, Jaime Hernandez, Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash, as well as Jason Lutes, Seth and James Sturm! (more info)

Saturday, May 26th

Seattle, WA:  And it's your last chance to check out the exhibit "Collecting: Art is a Slippery Slope" at the Wright Exhibition Space, featuring the NASCAR collection of our own Larry Reid, curator and manager of the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Or you can come to our many awesome events at the store in June, and Larry can show you the fancy exhibit catalog instead! (more info)

Listen, UK! More Sights & Sounds of Black Power From England!
Written by janice headley | Filed under Pat Thomasevents 21 May 2012 11:47 AM

Editor Pat Thomas at Cafe Oto in London
Author Pat Thomas at Café OTO, London // photo credit: Dave Weller

Our author Pat Thomas is back home in Seattle after a whirlwind book tour through England for Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, but you can still hear the sounds of his presentations and interviews online, thanks to the internets!

UK publication The Wire recorded his presentation at Café OTO, and you can listen to it here! Part one is Pat's incredible lecture, and part two is of Pat in discussion with author Paul Gilroy, filmmaker John Akomfrah, and publisher Margaret Busby.

And if you click here, you can hear an interview Pat did on Resonance 104.4 FM, a London-based non-profit community radio station. And we all know non-profit radio is the very best kind, cough. Listen up!

Daily OCD: 5/17/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Shimura TakakoRobert CrumbPeanutsMoto HagioMark KalesnikomangaLove and RocketsJustin HallJaime HernandezinterviewsDaily OCDCharles M Schulz 17 May 2012 7:00 PM

Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Heart of ThomasNo Straight LinesWandering Son Vol. 3

List: At Library Journal, Martha Cornog names "26 Graphic Novels for Pride Month 2012," including The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio...

"This book is considered a pioneering example of shonen-ai (boys’ love), often referred to as yaoi in the United States. In a German boarding school, young Thomas Werner kills himself because of unrequited love for a schoolmate, who is in fact in love with Thomas, but secretly. Unpacking the emotional threads among the boys and their fellows leads to a sophisticated and beautifully drawn melodrama."

...No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics...

"Herewith a color and black-and-white sampler from a less-recognized underground of gay comics from the past four decades, including Bechdel and Cruse, Europe’s Ralf Koenig, and 2011 ALA keynote speaker Dan Savage (Savage Love; The Kid; It Gets Better). Fantagraphics promises 'smart, funny, and profound' — and uncensored."

...and Wandering Son Vol. 3 by Shimura Takako:

"A serious yet sweet fifth-grade drama about several boys and girls who want to change their gender. Unlike many manga involving boy/girl reversals, this one does not play gender issues for laughs, even if gentle comedy enters the picture along with serious emotional drama."

The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984

Review: "The seventeenth volume of this great series from Fantagraphics [The Compete Peanuts] is just as delightful as all the rest. Yes, the ink line of Charles Schulz is a little wobbly at times, but his humor is just as sharp as ever.... I’ve said it before, but if you want reading material that will make you smile and laugh it’s hard to beat this series. And I’m continuing to admire the subtle and classy cover designs by Seth. Highly recommended." – Todd Klein

The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 1

Interview: At The Art Newspaper, Sarah Douglas chats with Robert Crumb about his museum retrospective show in Paris: "The contemporary fine art world has never particularly interested me. They started to embrace me and have big fancy gallery shows and museum shows. I’m one of the few cartoonists who mainly work for print who is now finding their way into the fine art world, and it’s the choice of the fine art world; it’s not my choice. I haven’t consciously promoted myself in that world."

Freeway

Commentary: At The Comics Journal, R. Fiore uses Mark Kalesniko's graphic novel Freeway as a springboard to discuss the history of American animation: "The eponymous metaphor of Mark Kalesniko’s Freeway is almost too easy: A transportation network that once granted free and effortless mobility that’s become a morass of stagnation and frustration to symbolize an animation business that promised personal expression amid camaraderie but delivers forced mediocrity in an atmosphere of Machiavellian backbiting. Condemned to a purgatorial traffic jam, Kalesniko’s dog-headed alter ego Alex grinds his teeth to reminiscences about his thwarted career, potentially idyllic but presently in-law plagued romance, and his abortive first expedition into Los Angeles, intermixed with idealized visions of animation’s golden age and premonitions of [SPOILER REDACTED – Ed.]."

Locas II

Commentary: "I’d love to see Locas become a well-made animated television series, because I feel like Jaime Hernandez’ work deserves the widest-possible audience. But is such an idea messing with a classic that doesn’t need such 'help'?" – Graeme McMillan, Spinoff Online

Black Images in the Comics (Softcover Ed.) by Fredrik Strömberg - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesFredrik Stromberg 17 May 2012 1:47 AM

Black Images in the Comics (Softcover Ed.) by Fredrik Strömberg

Black Images in the Comics (Softcover Ed.)
by Fredrik Strömberg

304-page black & white 6" x 6" softcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-562-4

Ships in: May 2012 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now

This book spotlights over 100 comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels to feature black characters from all over the world over the last century, and the result is a fascinating journey to, if not enlightenment, then at least away from the horrendous caricatures of yore.

The book begins with the habitually appalling images of blacks as ignorant “coons” in the earliest syndicated strips (Happy Hooligan, Moon Mullins, and The Katzenjammer Kids); continues with the almost-quaint colonialist images of the often-suppressed Tintin album Tintin in the Congo and such ambiguous figures as Mandrake the Magician’s “noble savage” assistant Lothar in the ’30s (not to mention Torchy Brown, the first syndicated black character), moving on to such oddities as the offensive Ebony character in Will Eisner’s otherwise classic The Spirit from the ’40s and ’50s.

We then continue into the often earnest attempts at ’60s integration in such strips as Peanuts (and comic books such as the Fantastic Four), as well as the first wave of “black strips” like Wee Pals, juxtaposed with the shocking satire of underground comics such as R. Crumb’s incendiary Angefood McSpade. Also investigated is the increased use of blacks in super-hero comic books as well as syndicated strips. Black Images in the Comics wraps up from the ’80s to now, with the increased visibility of blacks, often in works actually produced by blacks, all the way to the South African strip Madam & Eve, Aaron McGruder’s pointed daily The Boondocks, and more — including over a dozen new entries added to the out-of-print hardcover edition.

Each strip, comic, or graphic novel is spotlighted via a compact but instructive 200-word essay and a representative illustration. The book is augmented by a context-setting introduction, an extensive source list and bibliography, and a foreword by Charles R. Johnson, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship and winner of the National Book Award for his 1990 novel Middle Passage.

31-page excerpt (download 807 KB PDF):

Video & Photo Slideshow Preview (view in new window):



Daily OCD: 5/15-5/16/12
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steven BrowerreviewsPopeyeMort MeskinKrazy KatHans RickheitGeorge HerrimanEC SegarDaniel ClowesDaily OCD 16 May 2012 7:54 PM

The latest Online Commentary & Diversions:

Krazy & Ignatz

Commentary: "The completion of Fantagraphics's Krazy [Kat] Sunday series also means, quite possibly, the end of Krazy Kriticism — a brand of writing that, as far as I can tell, only the Kat engenders. Critic Gilbert Seldes first articulated its credo in the 1924 article 'The Krazy Kat That Walks by Himself.' After comparing Herriman to Dickens, Cervantes, and Charlie Chaplin, Seldes threw up his hands: 'It isn't possible to retell these pictures; but that is the only way, until they are collected and published, that I can give the impression of Herriman's gentle irony, of his understanding of tragedy, of the sancta simplicitas, the innocent loveliness in the heart of a creature more like Pan than any other creation of our time.' Thus did the gates open to a flood of ecstatic, mimetic writing in which every critical impulse was mercilessly drowned in gushing praise and fervent prayers to put the comics between covers." – Sarah Boxer, Los Angeles Review of Books

Out of the Shadows

Commentary: At Print magazine, Steven Brower looks at different ways comics publishers restore and present vintage comics material, including his own compilation of Mort Meskin comics, Out of the Shadows: "For the Mort Meskin collection, we hoped that a contemporary audience would rediscover him; Fantagraphic’s fresh, newly minted approach goes a long way toward achieving that."

Folly: The Consequences of Indiscretion

Review: "I mean this in the nicest possible way but self-confessed obscurist Hans Rickheit is clearly not all there in the head. ...[Folly: The Consequences of Indiscretion] is a collection of shorts from over the years, frequently featuring the same characters, in particular identical twins Cochlea & Eustachia, who inevitably get themselves into all sorts of unpleasant bother. Definitely the type of read to make you wary of opening doors when you’re not entirely sure what’s on the other side, as Hans frequently surprises his characters, and us readers, by taking you somewhere you’d never expect, nor probably want to go to." – Jonathan Rigby, Page 45

Popeye Vol. 4: Plunder Island

Review: "‘Plunder Island’ is the fourth of six oversized volumes collecting all of E.C. Segar’s Popeye-era Thimble Theatre strips....  The Segar book is every bit as good as the three volumes that preceded it – brilliant cartooning and laugh-out-loud funny gags.  The only difference this time around is that the Sunday strips fill the first half of the book and the dailies fill the second half (it’s usually the other way around) but otherwise it’s business as usual.  I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Segar’s Popeye, and the whole book was thoroughly enjoyable..." – Rob Wells, Comics – On The Ration

Mr. Clowes, we present you with the Katzenjammer Medallion for comic excellence!

Profile: Andrew Dansby of the Houston Chronicle profiles Daniel Clowes: "Clowes describes an eerie but common sight in his studio. Since eyes are the last thing he draws when he's working, the room is full of characters without them. 'I've had other cartoonists come over, and they've told me it's pretty creepy to see all these faces with no eyes staring back,' he says. 'But that's where I can get the last 10 percent of the emotion on the page. If I get it just right, you can subtly influence any expression through the eyes more than any other feature. They're where the character comes to life.'"

Study Group in session at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Fantagraphics Bookstoreeventsart shows 16 May 2012 5:51 PM

Study Group

Study Group editor/impresario Zack Soto recounts his trip from Portland to Seattle last weekend for the opening of the art show he curated at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, which remains on display through June 6. Head on over for fun-time stories and pics of comics pals! And if you haven't checked out the exhibit yet, get yourself down to Georgetown — it's a great show and there are still some pieces left for sale at ridiculously affordable prices!


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